Loudoun Chamber Broadens Outreach to Promote Healthy Living

For the past six years, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce has worked to highlight examples of businesses that go the extra mile to make their workplaces and workers healthier. This year, members of the Health and Wellness Committee are changing things up, starting with a few glasses of water.

The Loudoun Live, Be and Work Well Movement replaces the Healthy Business Challenge this year. Scorecards are out and social media connections are in.

Laura Crump Anderson, who chairs the chamber committee, said the panel is working to create a more interactive and far-reaching program this year. The committee’s mission is to empower Loudoun businesses and employees to make positive lifestyle changes that improve the community’s health, happiness, and productivity.

During the first quarter of 2019, the program will focus on living well, with fitness and nutrition tips. During January, the benefits of drinking more water have been touted and in February efforts will help to find ways to cut sugar intake.

Each month, organizers will hammer home a special health message to improve residents’ physical and mental health. Industry experts and participants will be posting photos and videos on Facebook and other social media sites sharing healthy living activities. Hashtags like #lccchealthyand #lccclivewellwill help organizers track their progress.

There also will be monthly forums featuring local health and fitness experts. The first will be held Friday, Jan. 25.

Entitled “Breaking the Stigma: Holistic Approaches to Mental Health,” the breakfast meeting at the Belmont Country Club will feature a discussion on how mental health awareness and stress management are essential to cultivating a culture of wellness in a company or an organization.The panel will include Dr. Martha Calihan, an integrative and functional medicine physician; Susan McCormick, a licensed marriage and family therapist; and Alison Sonak, a registered dietician; and will be moderated by Dr. Suzanne Nixon, of Northern Virginia Integrative Therapy Center, Inova Loudoun Hospital.

“The committee’s goal is to get the right people to connect with the right thing for them,” said Anderson, a personal trainer at InForm Fitness. “There are so many wonderful resources available in this county. It is about connecting them.”

This year’s campaign won’t just be about eating right and staying fit. The role of spas and mental health resources also will be featured.

“It’s interesting because it is a stress reduction effort,” Anderson said. “This is not just about your fitness and nutrition.”

Although the committee is targeting more connections with individuals in this year’s program, Anderson said creating more healthy workplaces remains an important focus, too.

She points to the years-long involvement of companies like JK Moving Services that already invest in wellness programs.

“JK Moving is a big partner because they have so many options for employees and they want to learn about more,” Anderson said. “They are so employee-based. They know if people aren’t happy, their customers aren’t going to be happy.”

Losing an employee to sickness can be a big hit to productivity, especially in Loudoun, where so many companies are small businesses, she notes. “It’s a great investment you can make in your business.”

The first quarter of the year will focus on fitness and nutrition, followed by stress management and mental health during the spring, return on investment and workplace policies in the fall, and wrapping up ways to stay healthy throughout the year.

The best way to get involved is to like the campaign’s Facebook page, facebook.com/LoudounHealthWellness.That’s where tips will be shared and program participants can share stories of their progress. It’s also a good way to win prizes that are being offered during the campaign. “But the biggest prize is health itself,” Anderson said.

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